ALBANY — New York’s massive 570-mile highway system connecting Westchester all the way to Buffalo near the Canadian border, will transition to a cashless toll system Saturday, which means toll booths will soon be a thing of the past.
“You don’t stop … it actually accelerates traffic by as much as 25 percent. It reduces emissions. The trick was getting it done on a 570-mile system,” explained Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a phone interview on Spectrum News Albany Thursday.
“That’s going to be rolled out Saturday morning when people get up. We’re going to do it overnight on Friday, so by Saturday morning unless there’s a weather problem etc., that will be up in place.”
The Thruway Authority’s three-year-long, $355-million project was first announced in 2018 during Cuomo’s state of the state address held in January.
Drivers will no longer be able to physically stop and pay toll fees assessed by mileage, instead they will be required to slow down to 20 MPH when driving in the toll lane.
They may either sign up for E-ZPass, attaching a device that will automatically charge an individual’s account once they pass through a toll point.
If a person does not have an E-ZPass account, the system’s new tolling devices will take a photo of a car’s license plate, generate a bill based on Department of Motor Vehicles records and then mail it to an individual’s home.
Drivers can pay online, by mail or phone on tollsbymailny.com according to officials.
The move also means by the summer of 2021, 228 individual toll booths will be removed from the superhighway system.
Until those are removed and recouped by the contractor Cashless Tolling Constructors, LLC, drivers will have to pass through at a slower pace.
However, there are already seven fixed price barriers in the lower Hudson Valley on the new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, in New Rochelle, Yonkers, Harriman, Spring Valley and Grand Island near Buffalo.
The state Thruway Authority employs roughly 1,100 toll workers — 900 part-time and 200 full-time employees.
Officials say they will be eligible for retirement benefits, career development opportunities and the option to apply for other positions within state employment.
The authority’s Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on Dec. 1 to review a plan detailing a potential toll increase for drivers.
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